Hilltown Families


While old maps are interesting on their own, they provide an excellent entry point for studies of local history. The state department of education includes local history in their frameworks for third-grade social studies. Still, local history is a topic that can be learned about at varying depths by students of all ages.

Public radio stations offer a daily stream of information, bringing with it nearly endless learning potential. Listen Current offers educators short public radio news stories alongside resources for facilitating learning amongst teens and tweens, providing support for news-based learning. Using Listen Current’s resources, middle- and high-school-aged students can tackle topics in social studies, science, and english/language arts – all through the entry point of current events.

Taking a road trip? Watching for interesting license plates while on the road is a great way to keep kids entertained! With so many people traveling, the highways are filled with out-of-staters whose plates provide a great distraction from backseat boredom while learning about the 50 states! Discussing with kids the reasons behind each state’s license plate design can help them learn about geography, economics, and social studies, and can help them to develop their mental image of the differences in landscape around the country. They’ll learn to think critically about geographic locations by wondering why New England doesn’t produce citrus like the south does, and why the northwest coast of the country isn’t known for it’s lobster like the northeast coast is. Read on…

This week, the United States will signal its opposition to anti-gay laws in Russia when a number of openly gay athletes join the official U.S. delegation at the Sochi Winter Olympics. By transforming the world’s greatest athletic stage into a powerful showcase for political equality and human rights, these athletes are guaranteed to inspire hundreds of millions of people around the world – while serving as a powerful reminder of the long line of activist athletes who came before them…

Remember the days when music was only available on vinyl. Nowadays, used record stores are a vanishing subculture and understanding why they are disappearing can offer a unique opportunity for older students to learn about culture, economics and history. Check out this screening of “I Need That Record! The Death (or Possible Survival) of the Independent Record Store” at Historic Northampton for a tour-de-force tale of greed, media consolidation, homogenized radio, big box stores, downloading, and technological shifts in the music industry told through candid interviews, crestfallen record store owners, startling statistics, and eye-popping animation…

Spending a lot of time in the car this summer? Look for license plates on your next road trip with the kids and learn a lot about the 50 states! Discussing with kids the reasons behind each state’s design can help them learn about geography, economics, and social studies, and can help them to develop their mental image of the differences in landscape around the country…

Discover the World! Family Geography Expo at the Berkshire Athenaeum on April 5th Learn about international cultures together as a family by participating in the annual Geography Expo, hosted at the Berkshire Athenaeum in Pittsfield, MA, sponsored by the 4-H Earth Stars Club and the Berkshire County Homeschool Community.  The event gives kids the chance to delve into learning about a country and then share what they’ve learned about the culture, customs,… Read More

Celebrating the Year of the Rabbit The Chinese Lunar New Year is on February 3rd this year. If you’re considering celebrating this year’s Chinese New Year for the first time, there are many web sites to guide you on decorations, food, activities, and crafts, and to learn how the day is determined.The libraries have several titles to lend for your family to discover the cultural traditions of the Lunar New Year. There… Read More

The Winter Solstice Ellen Jackson’s book, The Winter Solstice, (published by Millbrook Press) takes a look at the many different cultures throughout history who have celebrated the Winter Solstice and developed customs for this shortest day of the year. With a simple storyline and attractive watercolor illustrations by Jan Davey Ellis, Jackson’s book is a nice addition to a social studies curriculum for children ages 4-8 this time of the year. The… Read More

Wrapped! Search for the Essential Mummy Tells the Inside Story of Mummies: both figuratively and literally! Museum visitors often leave an exhibition of Egyptian artifacts with the impression that mummies are all the same and that all mummies were kings or princes during their lives. In reality, mummies are individuals; they vary in terms of their manner of preparation, the decoration of their sarcophagi, and the region in which they lived. And,… Read More

MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. “I Have A Dream” Speech Families interested in discovering more about Martin Luther King, Jr. and the civil rights movement with their children might enjoy the following resources: FamilyEducation.com has Martin Luther King Jr Day Activities and Resources for Kids Kaboose.com has a great list of Black History Links Rosa Parks: How I Fought for Civil Rights is a lesson on Scholastic.com that describes her pivotal role in… Read More